Seven Journeys in the American West


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4.By Railroad to Nebraska

The letters of a homesteader couple describe the epic experience of the first white settlers on the Plains. (8.5 mins)

5.Gold in the Black Hills
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1874 next video 5/7next

iconChapter Breakdown

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1. Settlers arrive on the Plains: the story of the Homesteaders.
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2. The conquest of the Plains as the 'manifest destiny' of the American people.
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3. Uriah Oblinger builds a sod house.
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4. The photographs of Solomon Butcher record the experiences of the Nebraska homesteaders.
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5. His sod house finished, Uriah brings his wife Mattie out west to join him.

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iconLocation details


The beautiful shots of tall grass prairie that open the module were shot at 9 Mile Prairie, a stretch of unspoilt grassland northwest of Lincoln, Nebraksa. It's one of the last surviving stretches of tall grass on the American Plains, and it's kept by the University of Nebraska for research purposes.


The reconstructed sodhouse described by Martin Leiwer can be found on the Oglala National Parklands in Northwest Nebraska. The sodhouse we filmed for the final sequence was built privately by Henry Kuhner in his garden; he lives in Malcom, Nebraska, about ten miles west of Lincoln.


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